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Mungo

Latest audio interface recommendations?

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Hey,

my colleagues bought a brand new mac pro in our office we mainly use for video transcoding, copying files, reading SxS n stuff.

Now we need an audio interface we want to use to listen to and to analyze our recorded / transcoded audio with wave agent, Adobe Audition etc.

There has to be:

- good sound 24/96 (yes, really?)

- ideal: XLR out for our Genelecs (or TRS)

- low latency

- XLR input that accepts line level

- very good headphone amplifier

- not needed: mic amplifier, 48v, multitrack i/o, guitar in, phono, 7.1 ...

- price: unfortunately lower than RME league :(

So what do you recommend?

Greets mungo

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It should be Cue not Que. To Que is to get in line, Cue is to.....well you know.

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After a sort-of similar discussion here last year, I bought a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 (about $200 at the time, iirc), one of several models in their USB-interface line. I'm happy with it.

http://us.focusrite.com/usb-audio-interfaces

 

Based on that experience, if you're after a Thunderbolt interface, maybe check out the (new or updated, I think) Focusrite Saffire PRO line of interfaces. Note that I haven't used these. Starting around $250.

http://us.focusrite.com/firewirethunderbolt-audio-interfaces

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Thank you so far. I think I'll test a focusrite first. Some thunderbolts are still free to connect something ...

What about the Tascam stuff? They look quite worthy, but prices are suspiciously low.

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Thank you so far. I think I'll test a focusrite first. Some thunderbolts are still free to connect something ...

What about the Tascam stuff? They look quite worthy, but prices are suspiciously low.

Go with Focusrite.

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Mungo: " price: unfortunately lower than RME league "

finally recognized my cue!

possibly unreasonable expectations...

What expectations do you see that are unreasonable? The op's request seems fairly straight forward, and reasonable.

Many good suggestions made already. I'm personally a fan of the apogee and ua lines.

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If you want an interface with 8 outputs for 7.1, you're getting into an expensive league already. Most interfaces should be able to do 96kHz these days, but good mic pres and converters are subjective. Most "guitar center grade" interfaces aren't considered pro. I have a UAD Apollo Quad, which has everything you listed that you wanted (except you will likely not find XLR outputs on anything), but at $2,500, Im guessing is beyond your budget. The converters are great, the "guitar inputs" or Hi-Z Inputs are fantastic, four excellent mic pres, eight TRS outputs, and a lot of other cool things. When I got it, it was a toss up between it and the Apogee Ensemble. I went with UAD because the ensemble has been around for a good 10ish years already, which makes it more likely to be retired from support. Otherwise its a great machine.

 

Im not a fan of Presonus or Focusrite because I find their mic pres harsh or dull depending, and there is too big of a difference in levels with the slightest turn of a knob, so it is hard to dial in exactly the level you want.

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Thank you so far. I think I'll test a focusrite first. Some thunderbolts are still free to connect something ...

What about the Tascam stuff? They look quite worthy, but prices are suspiciously low.

 

As a TASCAM employee, I say unequivocally that our computer interfaces are well made, better sounding that the competition and excellent value for money.   Don't let the low cost dissuade you.  The market at this price point is a bloodbath, but we've used all our expertise to engineer and manufacture the best possible quality.

 

The UH-7000 is our latest 2 channel interface with top shelf quality. (192kHz), priced more than the entry level.

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As a long time TEAC / TASCAM customer, I agree with what the employee just said; these products are great values.

These days, I frequently, specifically recommend TASCAM models over any comparable Zoom models

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I'd take Tascam over Zoom, and I had a very nice FW-1884, but they stopped supporting it. I would have gladly payed for an upgraded USB 3 or Thunderbolt port in place of the firewire to keep it running, but that wasn't an option, and now its in a landfill. I'm considering getting an SD USBpre which doesn't require drivers, and therefore will have a longer lifespan. I already have a CL Labs MotorMix as a control surface that requires no drivers as well :)

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I'm going to contradict Jon on the Focusrite. I have a Scarlett 8i6 and while it's no UAD or Prism I find that it's pretty flat but has nice fidelity, not uber flattering but to me it's better most of the low end BOB/interfaces for VO work and monitoring. Level controls never seemed to be an issue. It also has a nice setup interface on the mac side. Never been a fan of Tascam or Zoom, at least on the low end.

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I'm seriously considering getting the new Tascam US-2x2. I currently have a Mackie Onyx Blackjack. It serves its purpose. It doesn't have as much gain as I'd like, though. 

 

Most of the lower cost interfaces (doesn't mean they are bad, just the price) don't have XLR outputs. That's totally fine with me. Even my Digi 002 Rack didn't have XLR outputs, if I remember correctly. 

 

For what it sounds like you are doing I wouldn't spend a ton of cash on. 

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I'd say get a nice DA and AD. The apollo boxes are pretty sweet since they have a basic 'master section' built in. The new apogee boxes are pretty sweet as well. I use a Cranesong Avocet mkII which is killer. Also, the new Avid boxes sound surprisingly good. Looking to do an HDX upgrade at some point. Even the HD Native is great but I enjoy the low-latency of the new HDX systems....

Unfortunately none of this stuff is cheap. But the headphone amp on the Avocet is stellar! It can drive any phones you plug in!

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If you can get away with just 2/2 there are a lot of good choices, hifi too.  If you need more inputs, like 8 or more then really good stuff (RME) gets expensive unless this will become part of your daily driver rig.  I have an RME at the center of my studio rig and it works very well. For occasional use, mostly rehearsal recordings or multichan playback a Focusrite is a good value, esp if you don't need all the FX etc stuff that MOTU builds into their boxes.

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